Thursday, 29 April 2010

Graham Bonnet - Line-Up (1981) [1994 Japan]

Genre: Hard-Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 19981
Label: Nippon Phonogram (Vertigo)

It's been 25 years since Skegness' most famous son, the heavy rock singer, Graham Bonnet, last troubled the UK singles charts. But back in the day, he cut the coolest of figures, perpetually donning his trademark shades and a shock of spiked-up James Dean hair, leather jacket collars turned up, with a don't-mess face that would see numerous set-to's with band mates, such as 'mad axeman' guitarist Michael Schenker, and guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen. But despite all the well-reported shenanigans during his heavy metal heyday in the early 80s, it was in 1981 that Bonnet cut his third and arguably most impressive solo album, Line-Up, With its ironic title implying both a police ID parade and indicative of the impressive array of stars that Bonnet recruited to make the record, the opus demonstrates his amazing vocal range and power, from kick-ass rockers to more tender moments. Indeed, despite the who's who of rock and metal guesting on Line-Up, its sleeve features images of five surly Bonnets - one vainly checking his hair! - underlining the fact that Graham always was the fulcrum of any band in which he starred.....

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Oliver Shanti (aka Oliver Serano - Alve) - Vida Para Vida 1992

Genre: New Age, Ethnic
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1992
Label: Sattva

Again, an amazing album, which has musical influences from around the world.
Flamenco guitar, North African percussion, Eastern European gypsy rhythms, Balkan folk, Asian music and jazz impressions, all that is involved in a captivating musical fairy touching the mind and heart.

The disc, recorded by Master in 1992, completes the initial period of creativity and is the latest, released under the name Oliver Serano-Alva.
The core community of musicians who participated in the record to remain the master himself, Margot Vogl, who bear the main vocals, in addition to guitars, violins and flutes, and Whyte Wayman - keyboardist and drummer. Greatly expanded range of attracted to the recording of ethnic instruments. Here and in the Chinese erhu fiddle, the Portuguese fado guitar, gu-Zeng, charango, Brazilian kavahino, darbuka drums and many others, whose participation in sounding music define only professional ear, but it is the existence of these tools creates a truly magical warm and lively atmosphere and a unique polyphony of the album.....

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Mino Cinelu, Kevin Eubanks, Dave Holland - World Trio (1995)

Genre: Contemporary Jazz / World Fusion / Post-Bop
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: July 18, 1995
Label: Intuition Music

This intriguing set features percussionist Mino Cinelu with Kevin Eubanks (on acoustic guitar) and bassist Dave Holland. They perform four Eubanks songs, three by Holland, and two from Cinelu, music that ranges from exotic sounds to light and creative funk grooves. It is quite intriguing hearing Eubanks sticking exclusively to his acoustic guitar and Cinelu adds plenty of catchy yet unpredictable rhythms. However, Holland often takes solo honors and he usually holds the group together with his authoritative and flexible sound. Very interesting music that's worth listening to closely several times.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Samir Joubran - Tamaas (2003)

Genre: World Ethnic / Oud
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Label: D'aqui France

The oud is a melancholy instrument; it seems to have loss and longing built into its very strings. These resonant songs build on that melancholy, but they offer more than that, too: in his symbiotic relationship with fellow oud player (and brother) Wissam, Samir Joubran finds companionship and perhaps redemption as well. Though they're stunning musicians, the Joubrans never overwhelm you with
technique. Tamaas builds on feeling, speaking to the thoughtful, sad and hopeful in each listener.

Enchanting music
This is a highly recommended record for anyone interested in quality instrumental music that reflects thought, philosophy and craftsmanship. I really enjoyed listening to this CD over and over again, it's very soothing when I feel like reading a book with the music in the background, yet it's highly intellectual when I'm in the mood for carefully examining the music and analyzing it. I actually recently saw Samir Joubran perform in Ramallah, Palestine along with his two brothers. They performed their new CD (that hasn't come out yet as of 1/18/05), Randane, which is a conversational improvisation between three Ouds. I have to say that I'm very eager for the release of Randane, because I tremendously enjoyed listening to it live in Ramallah, and I highly recommend it shall it become available on Amazon....

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Panzerballett - Panzerballett 2006

Genre: Jazz / Metal / Fusion / Progressive
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2006
Label: Bad Land Records

The interestingly-named Panzerballett are a German quartet operating very much in instrumental prog-fusion territory. The band describe their sound as ‘an innovative fusion of jazz, funk and metal’. I must admit that often I find that when a band describe themselves as ‘innovative’ its either not at all the case or ‘innovative’ only in the way that they’ve produced something so completely unlistenable that no-one else would want to make anything with a similar sound! Neither however is the case with Panzerballett – whilst the main influences on this debut album can be fairly easily deduced, they have succeeded in blending them together to produce a sound that is both original and challenging, whilst the record remains coherent and listenable throughout its length.....

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Patrick Rondat & Herve N'Kaoua - Patrick Rondat & Herve N'Kaoua 2008

Genre: Classic, Neo-classical Metal
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2008
Label: XIII Bis Records

When the metal and classical music together ... Known for having already released five albums and a live instrumental, Patrick Rondat is a guitarist of many talents. He has never hidden his passion for classical music. In making the acquaintance of musician Herve N'Kaoua this project to unite electric guitar and acoustic piano for performances of classical themes has finally taken shape. An accomplished pianist, first prize at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, Herve N'Kaoua been developing for several years an international career as soloist and recitalist. It is with this partner has an impressive resume that Rondat has carefully selected the works that make up this disc. Drawn from the directories of Beethoven, Faure (sonatas), Kreisler (Prelude and Allegro), Vivaldi (Winter of the 4 seasons), Mozart (the opening of The Marriage of Figaro), these pieces originally written for piano and violin, have was recorded live and in duet. An exercise and a novel approach that shatter the boundaries that some had been put up between two musical worlds, a priori, if different.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Billy Cobham - Spectrum (1973)

Genre: Jazz, fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1973
Label: Atlantic Records

When former Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham released the extraordinary Spectrum album in 1973 it had the immediate and profound effect of moving the burgeoning jazz-rock fusion movement into the mainstream. Jazz had started to move away from its traditional foundations with recordings such as Miles Davis’ 1969 album Bitches Brew with John McLaughlin on guitar. McLaughlin then started making waves with Cobham on drums and Jan Hammer on keyboards in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. At the same time, rock music was maturing and becoming more sophisticated.

Spectrum was the album that presented jazz and funk in a form that young rock record buyers could immediately relate to. The door was thrown open for other fusion acts such as Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, as well as Alphonse Mouzon and Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House. On the rock side, after hearing Spectrum guitar superstar Jeff Beck almost immediately went into an intense fusion foray that lasted for many years. Today, as then, Spectrum looms over the rest with it’s incredible blend of chops, power and hooks.....

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Greg Howe - Greg Howe 1988

Genre: Instrumental rock, Guitar Virtuoso / Shred / Kickass Guitar Music
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1988
Label: Shrapnel Records

During the mid- to late '80s, talent scout and Shrapnel Records owner Mike
Varney was the ultimate source for new high-tech guitar virtuosos in the
post-Yngwie Malmsteen era (Malmsteen was also one of his finds). Among the
dozens of young guns who emerged from Varney's stable, Greg Howe was
one of the best. His debut album, Greg Howe, was groove-based, and
favored funk and fusion flavors over gothic neo-classicism. It sounded fresh
compared to the melodramatic work of peers like, say, Vinnie Moore.
Front-loaded with two devastating tracks, "Kick It All Over" and "The Pepper
Shake," Greg Howe is immediately engaging. Unlike other music in the
note-heavy "shred" genre, these two pieces sound fun rather than academic;
the irresistibly slippery grooves provided by the crack rhythm section of Atma
Anur (drums) and Billy Sheehan (bass) provide a supple bed for Howe's
playful fretwork. Unfortunately, the rest of the album falls off a bit after

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Alex Bershadsky - Junk 2006

Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Acid Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2006
Label: My Records

"Israeli Fret-less Bass phenom, Alex Bershadsky, is sure to secure himself a
slot in the minds of bass lovers and players everywhere. Having toured
festivals around the world as a member of the Israeli fusion band "Zonzee"
(and representing Israeli jazz at the Blue Note, NY at the request of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs), those "in the know" have already known Alex to
be an accomplished player, lyrical soloist and sure footed technician. His first
solo release, "Junk" has proven Alex to also be a wonderful writer.

While this album will take us down many roads stylistically, Alex's voice on the
instrument (4 string fret-less Zon Legacy Elite) is strong and comes across
beautifully in every setting. From the beautiful and haunting melodies of
"Drift" to the hard driving and uber-funky "That's the Way It Is" or the Willis
inspired "Rush Hour", this album will surely have you checking his website for
scheduling to see when he's coming to town. This band Smokes."

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Hiroshi Fukumura with Sadao Watanabe - Hunt Up Wind (1978)

Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Funk
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1978
Label: Flying Disk/Victor Musical Industries Inc.

Japanese trombone player Hiroshi Fukumura teams up with saxophonist Sadao Watanabe on this laid-back jazz gem, taken from the album called ‘Hunt Up Wind’ which was released in 1978 on Flying Disk Records. Accompanying musicians are Don Grusin, Cornell Dupree, Chuck Rainey, Harvey Mason and Paulinho Da Costa. Served up for your much needed unwinding pleasure.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Brian Keane & Omar Faruk Tekbilek - Fire Dance 1990

Genre: Turkish Folk, Ethno
Format: wv + cue + log
Released: 1990
Label: Celestial Harmonies

Fire Dance is a natural progression from Suleyman. A plethora of Middle Eastern and North African instruments has been blended with synthesizers, guitar, and sophisticated orchestrations. The focus of Fire Dance has been expanded beyond Turkey, to include music from North African, Egyptian, and other Middle Eastern and Arabic sources. This recording begins with the sound of the desert wind in Somewhere in the Sahara. Faruk's enchanted ney enters from the distance with flourishes of goat bells. Orchestrations sneak in and build to a guitar solo with lavish synthesizer effects. The whole track then dissolves into Oglan Boyun, as if we have traveled over a dune and discovered a village in celebration, surrounded by the vast desert. As Oglan Boyun ends, we are left with Faruk's haunting voice floating out of the wind in A Call to Prayer. This soulful segment gives way to a magical ney section orchestrated to depict a garden of earthly delights. Faruk's voice returns in a powerful whirlwind of sound, followed by the drifting Desert Twilight. Brian's guitar opens this melodic piece with a rich, peaceful introduction. Faruk enters on the ney in an expansive and warm tone, complemented in the bridge by the baglama, adding an Eastern flavor. The music fades, leaving the listener with serenely quiet beauty evoking the title, Desert Twilight. A Passage East is a showcase for both Faruk's impeccable percussion and Brian's superb guitar chops. In Song of the Pharaohs, the wind and Faruk's haunting ney return to create the mystical impression of the distant time of the ancient pharaohs' rule. Enchanted by elaborate orchestrations, flourishes of windchimes, the voices of strangers, distant horns, and synthesizers that seem to defy conventional spatial dimensions, this piece assumes a psychedelic atmosphere. Beledy introduces us to the zurna, an oboe-like instrument with a very distinctive Middle Eastern sound. This composition is in the Arabic style, featuring very strong passages. Fire Dance is an energetic piece that demonstrates why Tekbilek and Keane are at the forefront of their respective musicial fields and the magical fertility of their collaboration. Ask is a contemporary Middle Eastern standard showcasing Faruk's proficiency on the oud. Village Song is a traditional Turkish folk song in 9/8 meter featuring Faruk on percussion. Modern Mystics brings the two musicians/composers together, on ney and guitar, in a meditative setting. Sahara (Reprise), with Brian on guitar, was an out take that was too special to leave off this recording. Spirit of Ancestors shows a deep mystical side with Faruk's powerful, searching voice. Halay concludes the recording with an uplifting, joyous celebration and driving rhythm. With Fire Dance, Omar Faruk Tekbilek and Brian Keane have created a unique recording that embraces many moods, at once energetic and meditative, mystical and joyous. Imbued with grace, this music transports the listener to a magical land where patterns of rich Middle Eastern traditions are joined in music. Fire Dance is an adventure in transformation from which there is no turning back.--John Diliberto

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Jimsaku - MEGA db (1997)

Genre: J-Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Label: Fun House Inc.

Who the hell are JimSaku? I hear you ask.. Well... Japanese Fusion (J-Fusion) has 3 main bands (plus lots of lesser known ones) which are Casiopea, Dimension and T-Square (aka The Square). Each of these bands has a similar lineup, common amongst J-Fusion bands, that comprises five in total but with a core of three musicians, usually Keys, Sax and Guitar. The core band then grab some friends to cover on Bass and Drums, usually session musicians and always the best available. In this case JimSaku were the Bass and Drums for Casiopea....

Friday, 9 April 2010

Bunny Brunel - For You To Play 1994

Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1994
Label: Brunel Music

Product Description

Originally released in 1994. Recorded live at Mad Hatter Studios, Hollywood, CA. Joining bassist Bunny Brunel on 8 original compositions is guitarist Mike Stern, keyboardist Billy Childs and drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Cliff Almond. Tracks: New Blues, Champagne & You, For You To Play, Basie's Mood, Chan's Song, Liven Up, Little Thing, One For Clint.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Johannes Linstead - Zabuca (2003)

Genre: World Music, New Age, Flamenco, Acoustic guitar
Format: Flac + cue + log
Released: 2003
Label: Real Music

01. La Cabanita en la Playa
02. Cielo Azul
03. Guayabera
04. Eleni
05. La Rumbita
06. Echoes of the Forest I
07. Echoes of the Forest II
08. Heat in Torremolinos
09. The Bells of San Miguel
10. Zabuca (Shake Up)

While his name is nowhere near as popular as that of Ottmar Liebert, or even Jesse Cook, Johannes Linstead keeps the flamenco tradition very much a force in modern world and new age music by combining traditional fingerstyling with fanciful modern groove ideas. And of course, a sense of melodic seduction that grabs on and can't be shaken. He's pictured on the CD cover holding an acoustic guitar, but his sense of sonic architecture extends to a multitude of instruments (piano, keys, mandolin, wood flute) and arrangement and production. To achieve his overall vision, he thus draws from a wide palette of textures. The title of the recording means "shakeup," which begins with the jubilant and brassy "La Cabanita en la Playa" -- a tune blending precise, speedy fingerstyling with rhythm guitar accompaniment, and jumpy piano chords topped with the mariachi trumpet fire of Alexis Baro. Before you start dancing too quickly, however, Linstead simmers down for the seductive sway of "Cielo Azul." The sensual, horn-drenched "Guayabera" perfectly captures his desire to blend traditional and modern styles; the tune blends classic picking and brass licks with a Santana-esque rock foundation. The gentle "Eleni" reflects the genuine romantic in Linstead's soul, while the two-part "Echoes of the Forest" mixes meditational atmospheres with a little of the Liebert influence. Beautifully written, and excitingly performed and played, this disc summarizes all there is to love about modern flamenco.
Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Hits Of Phil Collins (1990)

Genre: Classical, Easy Listening
Format: FLAC + cue + log
Released: 1990
Label: Edel

01. In the Air Tonight
02. A Groovy Kind of Love
03. Easy Lover
04. Do You Remember?
05. I Wish It Would Rain Down
06. Against All Odds
07. Another Day in Paradise
08. Two Hearts
09. One More Night
10. Take Me Home

Ten of Collins' soft-rock hits (including "In the Air Tonight," "One More Night," and the cover of "Groovy Kind of Love") are given a smooth, friendly easy-listening treatment on this disc; the only drawback are the oppressive synthesized drums, which give the entire recording a mechanical feel.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Alain Caron - Rhythm'n Jazz (1995)

Genre: Jazz, Bass virtuoso
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 2001
Label: JMS

This set by bassist Alain Caron puts the emphasis on his bass solos and electronics, although he utilizes a full jazz combo. All of the music consists of Caron originals except for a tribute to Jaco Pastorius on "Donna Lee," and the colorful titles include "The Bump," "Slam the Clown," and "Flight of the Bebop Bee." However, the titles are often more memorable than the music, which -- although well played -- would have benefited from the inclusion of a few standards or better originals. Alain Caron is an impressive virtuoso, so hopefully a lot more will be heard from him in the future.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Zucchero - Zu & Co 2004

Genre: Pop/Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 2004
Label: Universal Int'l

01. Dune Mosse - Zucchero & Miles Davis
02. Muoio Per Te - Zucchero & Sting
03. Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime - Zucchero & Vanessa Carlton/Haylie Ecker
04. Mama Get Real - Zucchero & Mousse T
05. Like The Sun - Zucchero & Macy Gray/Jeff Beck
06. Baila Morena - Zucchero & Mana
07. I Lay Down - Zucchero & John Lee Hooker
08. Blue - Zucchero & Sheryl Crow
09. Pure Love - Zucchero & Dolores O'Riordan
10. Wonderful World - Zucchero & Eric Clapton
11. Pippo - Zucchero & Tom Jones
12. Hey Man (Sing A Song) - Zucchero & B.B. King
13. Flight - Zucchero & Ronan Keating
14. Cosi' Celeste - Zucchero & Cheb Mami
15. Diavolo In Me - Zucchero & Solomon Burke
16. Senza Una Donna - Zucchero & Paul Young
17. Il Mare Impetuoso Al Tramonto Sali' Sulla Luna E Dietro Una - Zucchero & Brian May
18. Miserere - Zucchero & Luciano Pavarotti/Andrea Bocelli

Album Review iTunes

Italian star Zucchero has coaxed a wide variety of fellow artists into the studio over the years, and those vocal duets and other collaborations are gathered together on this collection, covering a period of over 15 years. This is one of those albums on which, intentionally, the selling point is the laundry list of co-stars, which is formidable: Jeff Beck, Andrea Bocelli, Bono (as a songwriter), Solomon Burke, Vanessa Carlton (on piano), Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Miles Davis, Haylie Ecker of Bond, Macy Gray, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Cheb Mami, Mexican group Mana, Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, and Paul Young. These luminaries join Zucchero to sing and play a batch of his songs (and sometimes co-write them), with many of the lyrics in English. Zucchero has one of those familiar gruff rock baritones, most reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, though it sounds at times like Joe Cocker and even ascends into a Sting-like tenor. The music is mostly also familiar, bearing the trappings of Euro-American classic rock balladeering in a manner that ruled adult contemporary radio for much of the 1980s and '90s. It's no wonder that the album is a co-production of the Concord label, known for its classy jazz catalog but lately branching out into pop, and Hear Music, the recording arm of the Starbucks Coffee company. It's easy to imagine this music playing at a low volume in the nearest Starbucks coffee shop and intriguing patrons who recognize the voice of Sheryl Crow or a guitar lick by Eric Clapton and wonder where it comes from. And that's appropriate, since this album is as much a marketing concept as it is a musical one.